Christmas is over, New Year’s Day is just around the corner and another great year of horse racing awaits.
What racing-related events would you like to see transpire in 2020? In anticipation of the new year, I’ve put together five wishes I hope to see come true in 2020.
In no particular order, I want to see…
1. Safe racing at Santa Anita
Last winter was challenging for Santa Anita Park, with its water-logged winter meet seeing a sharp spike in equine fatalities. Extensive reforms in the months since offer promise for a safer meet in 2020, so here’s hoping we’ll be able to celebrate exciting racing moments without fearing for the equine athletes involved.
2. Another Triple Crown winner
American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018 proved it’s still possible for the right horse to sweep the coveted Triple Crown. Following an unpredictable 2019 season that saw three different horses win the classics, it would be exciting to see another star emerge to sweep the series in 2020. Such a feat would give us three Triple Crown winners in the span of six years, equaling the Secretariat/Seattle Slew/Affirmed streak of the 1970s.
3. Exciting international competition
I’m a big fan of seeing American horses travel abroad to compete on international stages. The Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup programs in February and March should attract plenty of U.S. shippers, and I also hope to see a hefty contingent travel to Royal Ascot next summer. The real dream would be to see a U.S. runner tackle the historic Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France, though such an ambitious trip would likely compromise preparations for the Breeders’ Cup and require very sporting connections.
4. Emergence of an older dirt star
The 2019 racing season was packed with talented horses, but there was no clear standout among older males running long on dirt, historically the strongest division in U.S. racing. We were spoiled by a streak of memorable runners between 2016 and 2018, with California Chrome, Arrogate, Gun Runner and Accelerate taking turns dominating the division with stellar performances. I’d love to see a similar star emerge in 2020 and compile a series of high-profile victories to excite racing fans across the country.
5. American Pharoah sire a classic winner
The 2015 Triple Crown champion is off to a hot start at stud and led all first-crop sires by progeny earnings in 2019. His first foals will turn 3 in 2020, and there would be no better promotion for racing’s standout star of the 2010s than siring a classic winner right off the bat. Perhaps one of the young Pharoahs will even sweep the Triple Crown, which would place American Pharoah alongside Gallant Fox as one of two Triple Crown winners to sire a Triple Crown winner.